Wednesday, 26 November 2014
LC PLUS FORUM- November 2014
LC Pan London Umbrella Support for Homelessness PLUS Forum
Venue- Guildhall, Gresham Street, London, EC2
25th November 2014 14.00 – 17.00
David Makintosh, chair of the London Drug and Alcohol Forum played host to LC PLUS Forum- in association with DrugScope- one of the leading charities supporting alcohol and drug professionals. The event was attended by organisations such as St. Mungos Broadway, Providence Row Housing Project, Clinks and Shelter that work towards housing the homeless.
The agenda looked at the complex areas of dealing with homeless people who are regular drug- users or were recovering from a drug/alcohol problem; finding suitable housing for sufferers; the current policies regarding the services for the homeless and the use of sanctions on the unemployed.
Paul Anders, Senior Policy Advisor for LDAN/ DrugScope opened up the meeting with a brief policy update and review of Universal Credit support for those dependent on drugs and/or alcohol. Ruth Goldsmith, Communications Manager for Drugscope introduced the ‘Making the Case’ toolkit to best use local services and address the issue of homelessness and substance abuse at local government, followed by Sam Thomas from DrugScope and Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) who voiced the concerns of adults with multiple needs and how best to support them. Lastly the presentations were concluded by Ellie Cumbo from Clinks who spoke on the implications government legislation and changes had on services in London.
The number of rough sleepers and homeless are increasing due to difficult living conditions- unaffordable housing and rising unemployment. Last year roughly 112,070 in England were declared homeless- 26per cent increase in four years. (Source The homelessness crisis in England: a perfect storm: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/25/homelessness-crisis-england-perfect-storm). The rising number of homeless people is an undeniably growing concern for LC PLUS – piled on by research revealing many homeless people were regular drug- users or were associated with drugs. Research from Homeless Link- revealed that 39per cent (of the 2500 people) was recovering from drugs related problem. (Source: Homeless Link http://www.homeless.org.uk/sites/default/files/siteattachments/The%20unhealthy%20state%20of%20homelessness%20FINAL.pdf)
Some more useful facts from Homeless Link- 77per cent smoked, 35per cent only ate two meals a day and two- thirds consumed more than the recommended amount of alcohol each time they drank.
It is unanimous that the current system in place to ‘support’ our vulnerable people is failing and I am thankful to the London Council Plus and DrugScope for highlighting ways the government and the organisations can help.